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Surprise Beneath
To clarify, I haven't yet read 'Valley of Fear'. I don't think, at least. Is it good?
1/18 #211
Stutley Constable

Hi Blue,

'Valley of Fear' is not in my top five but you may find it is your all time favorite. Keep in mind, not everyone likes the same things. And, wouldn't the world be boring if we did? :)

The Valley of Fear is one of the novels, so it is longer than most of the cannon stories. I have not read it in six or seven years and it does not stand out to me like HOUND and some of the others do. I recall, however, there were some very good bits of deduction, some good clues for the reader to pick up on and some history inspired story telling in the second half. (People often overlook the fact that ACD wrote historical fiction also. I.E. his Etienne Gerard series.) It has similarities to 'Study in Scarlet', 'Black Peter', 'Crooked Man' and 'Sign of Four'. I think a couple of the plot points are recycled for 'The Golden Pince Nez' too.

To sum up without spoilers: Not my favorite Holmes story but definitely worth reading.

1/18 #212
Surprise Beneath
Thank you, I'll probably have to read it soon! I think last time I left off, I was going through some of the earlier short stories after Sign of Four. I'll probably squeeze it in after.
1/18 #213
Stutley Constable

Just me but I strongly feel it is best to read the stories in order and make sure you take a break between each. When I first got into them I was burning my way through the 'Classic Illustrated Sherlock Holmes', reading one story after another, and soon began figuring out who-dun-it because I recognized the setup rather than by deciphering the clues. HOUND, I think, is the one story that can be read at any point in the series because Sir Arthur wrote it after he had killed off Holmes and before he brought him back.

Regardless, do as you like and do not allow anyone to steal your enjoyment.

1/18 #214
Surprise Beneath
My reading patterns are... strange, to say the least. Hound of the Baskervilles is great! Truth be told, that was the first SH book I read, admittedly.
1/18 #215

I got to know canon more thoroughly through a ( now closed) livejournal community...Sherlock 60...where all involved worked though the 60 tales, one a week...posting 60 words on whatever form wished, and discussing relevant elements of Victorian life...It cycled several times...I was involved in 3...I rather miss it...

1/19 #216
I never took part, but I enjoyed reading the work of others. I also miss it. Myself, I find it difficult to limit my words to 500, so anything with less words is too much to ask. Perhaps in time, with more experience. I have been writing on and off for seven years now...
1/19 #217

Most of my work is low on word count ( though my longest poem is 20,000 words plus...) and I do like trying to fit to set parameters and still make sense. A suggestion for a thread here...filched from a Hogan Heroes forum I frequent ( I was steered there by the incomparable Belphegor...a 1960s US series I had never seen which I am now thoroughly engaged with...)

Could adapt it, perhaps?

1/19 #218
Ennui Enigma

Certainly could adapt, mrspencil. I didn't read the entire thread over at Hogan's Heroes but the theme of asking what kind of stories people liked to write/genre/length/etc. I also liked the idea of a thread to discuss personal stories... why one wrote their story and the story behind the story, per se.

Another quote? This one from The Musgrave Ritual by Holmes:

"And leave the litter as it is?" he cried mischievously. "Your tidiness won't bear much strain, after all, Watson.'"

1/19 #219
Stutley Constable

You know, MrsP, EE, the both of you have those nifty copper colored crowns beside your names for a reason. ;)

Work out the details of the threads, tinker with them a bit and then go ahead and create the threads. Make sure you advertise, too. The General Discussion thread is good for that and I usually send a few PMs to writers I think would be interested.

On a completely different note: It is good to see folks coming by the forum again. I know Hades' challenge just finished but I am wondering who here is working on stories, either new ones or updating old ones with new chapters. Myself, I found a story on one of my memory sticks that I started back in 2015. It took me a bit to recall the plot and get a feel for it again but I've been working on it for a couple of days. Not sure how long it will be or when it will be ready to post. I will let you all know when I do.

1/19 #220
Surprise Beneath

Interviews with an author? Oh, that'd be lovely. I'd like to get to know you all better. :)

You all seem relatively close for the most part, have you known each other long before this? Even in my relatively short stay here, it seems you all are very lovely to one another. Which is refreshing, given my experiences with some other prior fandoms. (Sorry, just curious.)

As for working on stories, I've got three that I'm working on. One is the 2020 Advent Calendar Challenge, two are personal projects of mine that I couldn't resist wanting to write for the SH fandom.

1/19 . Edited 1/19 #221
Stutley Constable

MrsPencil and I have known each other for something like a decade, I think. Perhaps longer. You know, after a while, I sort of lost track. We met through a mutual friend, Nytd, the Captain of the Black Pearl forum.

Ennui Enigma and I have know each other quite a while also. I believe we met when she reviewed one of my stories, though she also knew Nytd.

Most everyone else I am pretty sure I met through Hades' December Challenges or by reviews (either given or received) that turned into conversations.

A handful, such as yourself, introduced themselves here.

One reason we are civil to each other is that we are friends. Also, I find civility fits very well with Sherlock Holmes. In a way, I am "in character" when I am here. Were this a Sam Spade or Philip Marlow forum, I am all but certain I would be more of a wiseass. I would be crackin' foxy and getting up on my hind legs whenever someone tried to put one over on me. Get me sister? ;)

1/19 #222
Surprise Beneath

I gotcha, I gotcha. It's how I actually met Ennui Enigma, we started chatting a bunch while working on the 2020 December Challenge. mrspencil too, though I can't say I've known them as long as you have.

Makes me feel, admittedly, a little intimidated too. You know each other a whole lot, and here I come strolling in as the newbie. Probably why I started late on the December challenge, really.

There's... other reasons for my being what I am, but I won't go into it unless y'all want or need to know.

1/19 #223

Regarding new threads, Stutley, you are quite right...I will look at adding one with some Holmes related author questions, to set it off. Perhaps at the weekend, unless EE dives in first:-)

Regarding friendship...yes, on checking back, we first conversed over a decade ago. I joined the Black Pearl in early January 2011, and we had chatted regarding fics and reviews in the 6 months prior to that. I know not everyone responds to reviews, but it really is a great way of starting conversations with folk with common interests, and the networks and links made can be life enhancing:-)

And yes, I agree...the Holmesian atmosphere is warm and respectful.

1/19 #224
Surprise Beneath
Definitely! At least, from what I've seen, y'all have been really nice. Pirates of the Caribbean? Ooh. I think I only watched the first three movies, two as a kid, one as an adult, though I can't say I'm too much of a fan. I did enjoy the Disney ride though.
1/19 #225
Stutley Constable

Blue, please do not feel intimidated. It takes time to get to know people. Every single member of this forum was once "the new guy/gal". You'll fit in, in no time. Actually, you already do. You've asked some good questions and made some insightful comments. See? You're an old hand already. :D

Regarding "other reasons", I think it might be wiser to reserve your particulars. This is a public forum and anyone with access to the internet can read everything you post on it. Best to be careful. Same goes for your profile. Don't put up any photos of yourself. Don't give away your address or your vehicle's license plate number. You know the routine. Just basic internet precautions.

1/19 #226
Surprise Beneath

I know, I've been on the internet... well, not quite twenty-two years, but I've been around the block wayyy too long. What I mean is why I feel easily intimidated sometimes by this sorta thing. Nasty little thing called Impostor Syndrome. That's all that is.

1/19 #227
Hades Lord of the Dead

I think the really nice thing about this fandom is the way you can make connections with people you might not otherwise - and from my experience everyone is always so lovely with feedback and support for stories :) It's definitely been a great way that I've built my confidence, both generally and particularly with writing and the process of sharing writing.

1/19 #228
Surprise Beneath

That's true, I suppose. But... you all are amazing, and I'm just... well, me. Three kids stacked up in a coat.

1/19 #229
Ennui Enigma

Gosh... you all have been busy today! Where have I been?!

So lovely to see everyone chatting and catching up. In regards to starting new threads with discussion questions about story preferences or author interviews... Um... I don't think I'll be diving in too soon, mrspencil :-)

Blue, I think everyone has a bit of imposter syndrome but hang in there. I consider you an 'ol FF friend now. We've been through the December Challenge... that's 31 stories in 31 days... quite the marathon. Love your enthusiasm and creative ideas! Please consider FF a chance to explore your art ... experiment with writing styles, concepts, etc. Like SH, you can investigate and learn more about your own talents (and quirks) :-p

Um... not to leave out Stutley and Hades... hello! Don't stay up too late. Make sure you get your sleep. It's important for the creative muses.



1/19 #230
Surprise Beneath

I suppose so, but enthusiasm hardly gets me anywhere. It's a me thing, really, sort of... like the game Among Us? Where you can be the 'Impostor'. It kinda explains how I feel more often than not, just without the murder and sabatogue(I probably spelled this wrong), basically all the time.

I have seen a LOT of people use Sherlock Holmes as usernames in Among Us, it's kinda funny. I ran around as Moriarity once, which is a fun name for an Impostor.

As for new threads... could we do one about canon stories? I saw one about favorite pastiches, but I think it'd be fun to hash out the gems in canon, and the stinkers.

1/20 #231
Stutley Constable
As for new threads... could we do one about canon stories?

That is an interesting point. Originally, the General Discussion thread was to be where the canon stories would most often be discussed. I mean, the entire forum is dedicated to the original stories and the pastiches. When I started The Consulting Room, I anticipated that the members would be at least passingly familiar with the canon. Therefore, the General Discussion thread would be the ideal place to have those conversations. Anyone wanting to discuss any or all of the original stories would likely generate a very good, in depth discussion with many responses. It would be a simple matter of asking the right question or making an insightful observation.

The reason I created the Non-Canon thread is there are SO many non-canon stories out there it is unlikely anyone is familiar with them all. The Mary Russel series, for example, has a dozen or so books and some short stories. Only recently did I learn that one of ACD's sons actually wrote additional Sherlock Holmes stories. By creating a thread specifically for the pastiches, I hoped to highlight works that are less well known to the members and give people a place to either praise stories they enjoyed or warn other readers away from those they disliked.

The Group Read thread was quite good and resulted in some serious discussion about 'A Study in Scarlet'. The problem was keeping the discussion going. I fell by the wayside when I got called out to a night shift job doing 12hr days for two or three weeks. (Not conducive to reading and discussion.) Others had similar issues and the thread broke down.

My concern is that creating a thread specifically dedicated "to hash[ing] out the gems in canon, and the stinkers" would detract somewhat from general discussion and result in a mostly unused thread once everyone had voiced their opinions. That is not to say I am inflexible on this issue. If several members would like to have such a thread created, I am perfectly willing to allow it.

For the moment, Blue, why don't you see if you can ask the right question? Alternately, make an insightful observation of one of the canon stories.

1/20 . Edited 1/20 #232
Surprise Beneath

Let's see... there's always one I've wanted to ask, because I've seen it debated a lot. The Adventure of the Speckled Band, with the snake in question. I'm not sure who knows their stuff about snakes, but, that being said, what kind of snake do y'all think it was?

1/20 #233
Ennui Enigma

I love your question, Blue!

I've actually seen this question debated in various past literature or podcasts (can't recall which). I think it's a bit of 'Doyle ism' with some literary licence.

From the story... the snake in question is called a 'swamp adder'... it drinks milk... responds to a flute... and it's bite is barely detectable but lethal in 10 seconds. Presumably since Roylott spent time in India, the snake would be found there too. I'm not sure any one particular snake quite fits the full detail. Venomous and aggressive... yikes! I think I've seen on some herpetology sites that the most commonly suggested 'near best fit' from RL is the Russell's Viper.

1/20 #234
Surprise Beneath

That's what I heard too, but I was still confused when I re-read the story, lol. I suppose the story warranted an even more fearsome snake than what exists in reality. That's why I think Speckled Band is my absolute favorite of the lot(and it was Doyle's too!), because a locked-room murder mystery with a snake? That's freaking awesome! Admittedly, I will now eyeball all my vents when I go to sleep, lest a snake decide to murder me. (Also justified, with ophidophobia.)

1/21 #235
Ennui Enigma

Hopefully you don't lose any serious sleep worrying about snakes coming from vents, Blue. Admittedly, perhaps that is part of the genius of Doyle's story... he preyed upon our nascent fears of crawling snakes with is 'swamp adder even though it had some rather mythical properties of venom and calculating evil.

1/22 #236
Surprise Beneath

It's got some flavors of Murders in the Rue Morgue too, I think, given our fears of being attacked by animals beyond our control. Or... under someone else's control that isn't our own. Looking at you, Doctor Roylott and random sailor guy.

And hah, I was partially joking, lol. Sure, it's part of my fears of snakes, but I'm not losing too much sleep. I also just don't like snakes, really. Creepy little reptiles.

Mythical properties... perhaps. The venom itself is a terrifying feature, but I always thought what was more terrifying in the story is you didn't know what it was. I swear, I might have been sweating a little during the scene where they've locked themselves in the room, in the dark, waiting for the thing.

1/22 #237

I agree...the tension is ramped up beautifully in this tale...neatly unsettling.

1/22 #238
Surprise Beneath

Absolutely, and poor Julia, too. Died knowing Doctor Roylott would go for Helen next.

1/23 #239
Surprise Beneath

Well, since it's the new week, thought I'd pop my head in and say hello!

Found the podcast Rachel was telling me about, it was quite lovely, I saw the episode where they talked to Barbara Wilshere, who played Violet Smith in The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist. Well... not 'saw' since it's a podcast. 'Heard' is more accurate. Either way, it was fun listening to them talk about one of my favorite Granada episodes.

Two questions, though, one in regards to the forum itself... Sometimes I get notifications from y'all at like... 2 AM my time, and since I don't want to seem like I'm rude since I'm asleep by then, is there a way to list time zones for all of us? I understand if y'all say no, but it would certainly ease some of my worries about seeming like I'm impolite. Or have me blabbling to a quiet forum and seem like I'm spamming. Routes I want to avoid.

Second question, and it's one I've always wanted to ask, if y'all could see any story get revisited, like... sorta get a sequel, but just seeing the characters from that story back again, which would it be?

1/25 #240
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